Elijah Simpson has revealed a last-minute dash to Scotland was the first step on his journey to securing the biggest move of his career at Montrose.
Simpson was announced as a Gable Endie on New Year’s Day after impressing the club in training and bounce games.
Gaffer Stewart Petrie previously told Courier Sport the move was around three months in the making.
Quick dash to Scotland
But the initial offer of an trial happened overnight, with the forward dropping everything to get from London to Scotland on the next train.
“I had an agent who told me on the Friday night to come and play a friendly against Ayr United,” Eli explained.
“It was a bit short notice but I was off work so just thought I’d go. I didn’t expect much at all, just play and try my luck.
“I played and scored. I came along the following week to play against Dumbarton and I played well again.”
With a number of clubs north of the border to choose from, Simpson opted for Montrose after a couple more training sessions.
Leaving family behind
The 25-year-old has now upped sticks and is settling in to life north of the border, leaving his mum and siblings down in Camberwell, in the south east of London.
“I lived with mum, my two brothers and sister,” he said. “My dad passed away a few years ago.”
“At first my mum didn’t quite understand and my sister had to explain it to her. But she was really happy.
“She said that sometimes you have to come out of your comfort zone to succeed.”
Messages of support
Eli has also revealed messages of support from footballing friends down south.
Middlesborough and Bolton stars, who played alongside Simpson at Tooting, have messaged the new Montrose forward, wishing him well.
“I’m really close with, Isaiah Jones, he plays with Middlesbrough, and Dapo Afolayan, at Bolton,” he said. “I’ve got a few friends in the Conference Premier League too.
“We all used to play for Tooting & Mitcham. A lot of them became successful in football, so they’re really proud of me.
“I’m one of the last ones who actually got a pro contract. They send me messages about keeping my head down and staying focused.”
Enjoying life at Montrose
Simpson is full of praise for the club and his new teammates for making helping him settle in to life north of the border.
And he admits the friendly atmosphere at the club which helped sell the move to him.
“Everyone is really friendly,” he said. “The first time I came to the stadium, I was welcomed properly by every staff member I saw.
“I didn’t feel one bit out of place when I got here. No one makes me feel awkward or anything.”
Signed on an initial deal until the summer, Simpson now hopes to kick on and make an impact for the side.
Having played his part in two games already, he’s focused on enjoying his game and elevating the club to the Championship.
“There is a lot of running in Scottish football, he said. “But I’m really enjoying it.
“My personal aim is to reach a certain number of goals by the time my contract ends and, most importantly, I want to help get Montrose promoted.
“That would be a very big achievement for me, and for the club as well.”